Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas in Colorado

We spent this Christmas in Denver with Collin's sister + fam as well as his dad + girlfriend who flew out a few days before the 25th. It turned out to be a beautiful white Christmas! Denver got almost 12" so it really felt like the holidays even though we were away from 'home.' Collin and I had to finish our shopping on the 23rd (go figure) so we headed to the mall for some last minute gifts and then then met up with everyone else at the tavern at the Brown Palace for a drink before dinner.

I took this for my aunt! Gingerbread ship!
For dinner, we went to a newly opened restaurant, called Linger, in a hip little part of town. The back story to this restaurant is that it was originally a mortuary called O'linger which was purchased, gutted, and made into a swanky restaurant. They used the original neon sign and blacked out the O' = linger! 

The view of downtown Denver is just AMAZING! They also have a light-up bar made of Light Bright pegs.

The Light-Bright bar! How cool!

View of the restaurant from the 2nd floor bar
They serve tapas style dishes so Collin and I shared three plates: pad thai, muscles, and a korean beef dish (if I'm remembering correctly). Everyone but Collin was very impressed with the food. I would definitely recommend it, if for nothing else to see the view!

On Christmas Eve we had reservations at at micro-distillary in Boulder for a tour and tasting. Since they didn't open until 3p, we wanted to eat and the boys wanted to watch some football. Collin has been talking about this place called the Dark Horse forever. The Dark Horse Saloon is known for their chicken wings and burgers so everyone agreed to go. I was expecting a run of the mill bar but it was no such thing. I can't even explain it really. Sort of like a carnival, antique shop, taxidermy shop, and sports restaurant all combined into one place????? Check out the following pictures:

If you can tell, the women's restroom is on the right and men's on the left. Confusing...especially after a few drinks. Tricky tricky.

They also had an air hockey table (of course I beat Collin two out of two times.) Wings were excellent and food was great as Collin had predicted. We watched a few football games and I played a bunch of arcade games with Julia and Collin and by then it was time to head to the distillery.
It was called Roundhouse Spirits and they specialize in gin (and dabble in agave spirits--aka tequila [which is like Champagne in that it cannot technically be called tequila unless it is from a certain area of Mexico, interesting I thought!]) 

When we first walked into the distillery/warehouse, we were all a little unimpressed. We weren't sure what sort of "tour" they planned to give us because we could see every corner of the building from the front door. We were pleasantly surprised though. The owner was very knowledgable and pretty funny too. He definitely made it worthwhile and enjoyable.

His first still
Oak barrels to age some of the gin
Current stills
Bottling station

The tasting was obviously the best part. The gin was SO smooth. It tasted like a gin martini without having to add vermouth. The barrel aged gin wasn't my favorite but the guys really liked it. The guy described it as a "gin-skey," a mix between a gin and whiskey taste. The agave spirit (aka tequila) was smooth...I was told. I couldn't down straight tequila if they wanted me to keep my lunch down. The last thing we tried was the coffee liquor. Holy yummy. It was amazing and I don't even drink coffee. After all of the tasting we each got to choose two cocktails from their menu which were also delicious. Finally, our group bought a total of 12 bottles to take home with us and we were on our way. 

We drove back to Alli's from Boulder and continued to enjoy Christmas Eve with a few bottles of champagne and wine. All of the guys were sleeping by 8:00p (Collin was in bed by 7!) but the girls hung out and talked into the night. Late night we decided to cook up an asian dinner complete with pot stickers and pork stir fry...sorry guys, you should have paced yourselves! 

On Christmas morning, Julia, who usually likes to sleep in, was of course up early and trying her best not to wake people...on purpose anyway! After everyone was awake and had a cup of coffee or tea, we were ready to open presents! Julia wore her new footie PJs!

Complete with giant grow into! Her feet have already surpassed mine...not that that's hard to do...

 Santa came!!!

I thought that my Christmas was over as far as gifts were concerned because Collin gave me my new video camera before we even went up to Denver. Well, he had a little surprise in store for me! He handed me a big box and told me this was my last gift. I opened it to find the J. Crew purse that I have been wanting sooo badly!

I was certainly spoiled this Christmas!

After all of the presents were opened, Allison made mini-quiches for brunch!

We all showered up and relaxed for a few hours. Julia played with her new toys and crafts from Santa!

...then it was again time for champagne, a serious staple in Collin's family! We also had some fabulous appetizers before dinner: raw oysters and a variety of cheeses!

Chilled with giant icicles!

My shucker

Oysters in the snow!

I also got to video chat with my parents and family back home...and little C again!! I love video makes it so much easier to be away from home especially during times like the holidays. I got to show my presents, see some familiar faces, and catch up on what I was missing. It was really nice.

Christmas dinner was an amazing spread, just as Thanksgiving was. We had a turkey, a spiral ham, beef spare ribs (the best I've ever had!), green bean casserole, twice baked potatoes, cauliflower gratin, cooked carrots, homemade bread, and chocolate & vanilla swirled cheesecake!

Alli's cute dessert plates:

Our place card nutcrackers show how Collin ended up for the second night in a row...face down in bed...and early.

A peak into our Christmas:

We're back in the Springs now for a few days until we head off on our New Years adventure!

One last thing...I received a lovely Christmas card from my grandfather's nephew after we got back from Denver. Inside was a picture from 1934 of my grandpa and his siblings. It is so cute! I love it!

Stanley, Ray, Nadine, & Dale
I can see a lot of Tommy and Jamie in pops...

Merry Christmas from Colorado! I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday, where ever you are!

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